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3 footballers are perma-banned from this San Francisco bar

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http://thusspeaksaditi.com/wp-config.php Maggie McGarry’s isn’t a sports bar, says the co-owner.

This may be new to you if you’ve visited North Beach. And it was new to me when I spoke to Mick Graham, who repeated his attitude throughout our conversation.

“We’re all over the map,” he told me. “We are a chameleon bar. We have soccer during the day [Editor’s note: soccer] and then on the weekends professional and university sports. At night it changes to music. So we have a bit of everything. I don’t know what we are, but we are something. “

On this Tuesday at the end of September, I have to admit that it definitely feels like I’m in a sports bar.

Members of the San Francisco Manchester City Blues watch a Champions League game at Maggie McGarry’s in San Francisco on September 28, 2021.

Douglas Zimmerman / SFGATE

The San Francisco Manchester City Blues, a fan club, are cheering inside, necks to the televisions hanging over the bar for their beloved Manchester City Football Club (Graham’s favorite team). Another contingent of football fans, the Bay Area Gooners, apparently also support their football club Arsenal at Maggie McGarry’s through thick and thin.

The Bay Area Gooners are one of the soccer fans calling Maggie McGarry's home in San Francisco, California on September 28, 2021.

The Bay Area Gooners are one of the soccer fans calling Maggie McGarry’s home in San Francisco, California on September 28, 2021.

Douglas Zimmerman / SFGATE

Football memorabilia adorn the walls, including a frame of the “three footballers” exiled from Maggie McGarry’s field (likely without her knowledge) for previous infractions: Roy Keane, Thierry Henry and Stephen Ireland. And Graham has also become a huge local sports fan since moving to the US in 1989, supporting both the 49ers and the Giants.

A poster in the back of the bar shows the three footballers who are not welcome at Maggie McGarry's in San Francisco on September 28, 2021.

A poster in the back of the bar shows the three footballers who are not welcome at Maggie McGarry’s in San Francisco on September 28, 2021.

Douglas Zimmerman / SFGATE

“When I came here in 1989, I was actually an A fan. I didn’t know any other way, ”he says. “After that I actually defected because I thought Jose Canseco and Ricky Henderson were a little too bold for me.”

So what is there? What’s wrong with Maggie McGarry’s, who has been a fixture on North Beach for more than a decade?

It turned out that the square on Grant Ave. 1353, along the busy section between Green Street and Vallejo Street, always had a hard-to-pinpoint backstory that Graham spoiled me with the parklet he jokingly called the Veranda. His combed back gray hair hugs the nape of his neck and reaches down to the collar of his shirt, the first distinguishable characteristic of him until his thick Irish accent takes center stage.

Mick Graham, co-owner of Maggie McGarry's, pours himself a pint behind the bar on September 28, 2021 in San Francisco.

Mick Graham, co-owner of Maggie McGarry’s, pours himself a pint behind the bar on September 28, 2021 in San Francisco.

Douglas Zimmerman / SFGATE

“Back in order, it was Miss Smith’s Tea Room, a lesbian bar, then it became the Coffee Gallery and then the Lost and Found Saloon, a dingy pub,” says Graham.

Miss Smith’s Tea Room was in the heart of North Beach from 1954 to 1960, when North Beach preceded the Polk Gulch area as one of the first neighborhoods in San Francisco to have a small cohort of bars and restaurants as safe places for LGBTQ people. Community has been set up. The tea room was owned by Connie Smith, a former waitress at the Artists Club (another LGBTQ-friendly bar on 345 Pacific Avenue) and was in an essay titled, according to Dick Boyd. known as a “lesbian pick-up point” “In front of the Castro: North Beach, a gay mecca.”

A mural painted on the wall by Maggie McGarry shows former musicians who performed in previous incarnations at the location in San Francisco on September 28, 2021.

A mural painted on the wall by Maggie McGarry shows former musicians who performed in previous incarnations at the location in San Francisco on September 28, 2021.

Douglas Zimmerman / SFGATE

In the 1960s, the Coffee Gallery emerged, a well-known meeting place for “romantic visionaries, distant poets and drinking locals”, according to Bill Morgan in his book “The Beat Generation in San Francisco: A Literary Tour”. With a stage behind two mammoth doors that reach almost to the ceiling, the Coffee Gallery also served as a music venue for the early songs and performances of Janis Joplin and Grace Slick & The Great Society.

On the backstage wall of Maggie McGarry's in San Francisco hangs a poster for the Coffee Gallery, which was once a store on September 28, 2021.

On the backstage wall of Maggie McGarry’s in San Francisco hangs a poster for the Coffee Gallery, which was once a store on September 28, 2021.

Douglas Zimmerman / SFGATE

On this subject, Graham has a fond memory of Thanksgiving in 2019. A man walked into Maggie McGarry’s and mentioned that he had played in this place about 30 years ago, then in the Coffee Gallery. The man turned out to be George Thorogood, best known for his song “Bad to the Bone”.

“He drove here from San Diego and there was an S-t band on stage [that night]”Says Graham. “But they said, ‘George, you have to play, you have to play.’ So he got up and sang two songs, brought down the house, and they paid him two beers. “

On the left, musician George Thorogood poses on stage with Maggie McGarry's co-owner Mick Graham.  Thorogood played in the bar in the past when it was called Coffee Gallery.  On the right is a signed autograph that Thorogood gave Graham after visiting the bar.

On the left, musician George Thorogood poses on stage with Maggie McGarry’s co-owner Mick Graham. Thorogood played in the bar in the past when it was called Coffee Gallery. On the right is a signed autograph that Thorogood gave Graham after visiting the bar.

Courtesy Mick Graham

After Thorogood told Graham his story, Graham politely asked for an autograph. “[Thorogood] said: “30 years ago my friend told me that one day I would go to this bar again when I was famous and someone asked me for my autograph. And you just did it. ‘”

In 1980 the Coffee Gallery was transformed into the Lost and Found Saloon. That endeavor took about 25 years, and Graham said that in his time “hunting ladies” he would even go to the bar himself. In early 2006, Graham and four other career bartenders took the plunge and signed their first bar lease. On July 26, 2006, Graham and his partner Màirèad – who previously worked in Irish pubs like Terry’s Lodge and Molly Malone’s – officially gave pints to everyone At Maggie McGarry’s, renamed after Màirèad himself (Maggie is a nickname).

In the meanwhile 14 years, Maggie McGarry’s has earned a reputation as an all-rounder – with a focus on its sports offer. Cover music is the order of the day on Friday and Saturday evenings. On Thursdays there are original acts playing under the spirits of the music kings. Some evenings they even let plebs on the sacred stage when they do karaoke – the kind of karaoke where if you are too good you say to sing elsewhere. Every other night there will likely be a sporting event on the screen, with fans in team uniform screaming about mistakes by the referees or advantageous moves by their opponent.

Customers sit at the bar at Maggie McGarry's in San Francisco on September 28, 2021.

Customers sit at the bar at Maggie McGarry’s in San Francisco on September 28, 2021.

Douglas Zimmerman / SFGATE

During the front end of the pandemic, Maggie McGarry offered none of this. It closed for seven months and was even closed a couple of times for violations of individual health authorities that Graham failed to elaborate on, aside from being wrong. “They were right. We tried to follow the line. Everyone had a year,” said Graham. “We had our run-ins with them [the health department] and the mayor, but they’re all just doing their job. I don’t want to have been a politician or a health department in the middle of it all. Because you are damned if you do, you are damned if you don’t. No matter what you do, you were wrong. “

But things are starting to develop, thanks largely to the San Francisco Giants. Graham says the Giants’ unexpectedly successful season was “a kick in the head” that should get more fans to watch Maggie McGarry. He’s not sure if it will hit the “sheer chaos” level of 2010s fandom, but he’s still hopeful – in large part because he’s a converted Giants fan himself.

The parklet was built for customers outside of Maggie McGarry's on Grant Avenue in San Francisco on September 28, 2021.

The parklet was built for customers outside of Maggie McGarry’s on Grant Avenue in San Francisco on September 28, 2021.

Douglas Zimmerman / SFGATE

Which brings us back to where we started: Can a bar that relies on the Giants and that regularly hosts soccer games really get away with not being considered a sports bar? Does demarcation matter at all?

No, probably not. Maggie McGarry’s lives from changing its colors depending on the time of day, month or year. It includes the local soccer fan clubs flocking to watch their teams, the regulars just having fun people-watching over a pint, and the sweaty, dissolute youngsters turning away from Tupelo Dance across the street to the Tope Lounge. Graham only cares where they end their night: Maggie McGarry’s, possibly the best sports bar in North Beach.

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